(After warnings that it could go awry, the election actually went smoothly.)
According to misinformation researchers, there was more misinformation in Pennsylvania on election day than in other states before the polls closed, particularly related to allegations of fraud or election theft.
Zignal Labs, a media literacy company, tracked keywords related to "steal" or "steal" of choice for the first 18½ hours of Tuesday. The keywords along with Pennsylvania were mentioned 6.4 times higher than the next higher state Kansas (followed by Texas, Michigan and Florida).
During that time, Zignal found that “stealing” and voting-related keywords received 119,000 mentions on cable TV, social media, and print and online news outlets. In particular, a viral hashtag, #StopTheSteal, boosted mentions from a few dozen to over 2,000 in 15 minutes on Tuesday morning, researchers found. It was mentioned over 12,800 times on Twitter by noon.
Within that series of mentions, Pennsylvania saw 8,150-related Democrats stealing the elections, carried by articles published in right-wing outlets such as The Gateway Pundit and National Post. Notable figures like Mike Roman, the campaign leader for the Trump campaign, have also driven mentions.
"ILLEGAL campaign INSIDE a polling station in Philly," said Roman in a post that was shared 13,200 times on Twitter. "Man in Blue distributes DEM literature to voters IN LINE TO VOTE."
An analysis by the New York Times' visual research division found that the two photos Mr. Roman shared did not match. Twitter described the tweet as "misleading" and later "rigged," and a spokeswoman said the company flagged the tweet and several others from Mr. Roman as part of its Civic Integrity Policy.
A separate analysis by Zignal found that Pennsylvania was also more likely than other states to have misinformation about the vote on Tuesday. Of the roughly 15,000 misinformation mentioned between midnight and 7 p.m., 3,449 were associated with Pennsylvania, followed by Michigan, Florida, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Pennsylvania is one of the largest battlefield states with 20 votes.